How much more pain must Americans endure before our masters in Washington let oil companies punch a few holes in the Alaskan tundra? Must we shiver pennilessly in the dark before we may extract new domestic petroleum deposits? Or shall we simply keep buying $114 barrels of oil from people who want us dead?
In case Congress missed the news, four U.S. airlines have gone broke during this month alone. Frontier declared bankruptcy, but will continue flying. Even worse, Aloha, ATA, and Skybus blamed unaffordable fuel as they grounded their jets. Aloha said sayonara to 1,900 employees, NBC News reports. ATA’s demise destroyed 2,200 jobs, while Skybus sacked 450 workers, atop the 80,000 positions lost across the economy as unemployment spiked from 4.8 percent in February to 5.1 in March.
Losing these airlines likely will boost plane-ticket prices, which already have climbed alongside fuel bills. Since April 11, 2007, a gallon of jet fuel has risen 69.3 percent to $3.44. The International Air Transport Association calculates that jet fuel will cost airlines worldwide an extra $58 billion in 2008 versus 2007. Having ditched complimentary meals, movies, and even pillows on many flights, there is little left for embattled carriers to curtail, as their chief expense goes sky high. What’s next? Bring your own seat belt.
The situation on the ground is equally grim.
Independent truckers have staged work stoppages to showcase their plight. Typical big-rig drivers who spent $837 to fill 250-gallon fuel tanks a year ago pay $1,189 today – up 42 percent.
As of April 14, automobile drivers paid a record average of $3.39 per gallon for self-serve gasoline, up 51 cents in 12 months, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.
“To Our Loyal Customers,” read a sign taped to a gas pump at a Beltway service station featured in the Washington Times. “We Apologize for the Price of Gas. We DO NOT have any control over the high price of gasoline. We Are Sincerely Sorry.”
Faced with this real human suffering, the Democratic Congress merely whines about oil companies’ “obscene” profits.
“This whole situation has been nothing more than manipulation around greed,” Rep. Joe Larson (D., Conn.) bellowed at a March 31 House hearing.